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Let's Not All Get Misty About Tomorrow's Impending Muni Permanent FAIL...

So I guess the thing all the "cool" hipster blogs are doing to discuss the impending Muni Permanent Embedded FAIL that starts tomorrow is to write these f*cking "eulogies" for various bus lines. Oh, how cute.

Me, I'm not having any of it. I think our friend Akit has the right idea, pointing out that we're on the eve of a major meltdown on Monday, and it isn't going to be pretty. This isn't the time for mushy nostalgia pieces best saved for the school paper - this is time to get organized.

We have a Mayor and an MTA boss who celebrate these deep cuts as "efficiencies" with doublespeak that would make Airstrip One's MiniTru blush. We have a compliant press who has mis-represented what's happening tomorrow by repeating said truisms. We have a Board of Supervisors who celebrate big big increases in Fast Pass costs for most of us as "keeping fares low" (thanks for nothing, Sup. Avalos and your so-called "progressive" pals!) that boggle the mind.

And we have a laughable attempt by the head of the Muni driver's union to show solidarity with us owners, only to find he's just as full of shit as he's always been. (Hey buddy, check out how your rampant random absenteeism screwed riders of the 71, mmkay?)

I don't have an exact plan or answer about what to do, but I do know this - rampant bitching on blogs here and elsewhere will only get us so far. It boggles the mind that the bike people pretty much get whatever they want, including city funding for the monthly Critical Mass ride, but those of us who own Muni and rely on it to get around town and do what we want to do are ignored. Mayor Football Bat sucks up and subsidizes car travel and talks big about bikes, but hasn't missed a chance to screw Muni riders since he took office. So-called "progressives" talk mushy mouthed happy talk about green this or that, but have proven rather useless as they always always capitulate to power in a tough fight. (Lookin' at you, Mr. Chiu.)

At some point, I think we're all going to have to take a little responsibility and find a way to retake the power away from the bumbling idiots at City Hall and find a better way to run Muni. I have no idea what form that would take, but then again, I'm just a FastPass payin' owner, not someone being paid 300,000 a year plus lifetime benefits, either. All I know is that this half-assed way the MTA is run is NOT WORKING, and anyone defending it needs their head examined.

In the meantime I'm setting up a post for Monday that will be where you can report any and all massive FAILs for the morning commute...

Comments

We really need a strong, responsible Muni rider's union to put some fire up Muni's ass and hold the city government accountable.

The first step is finding a few people who could start such a group. This is the hard part. Getting people to join should be easy.

When I did NYC races, the "straphangers campaign" was a really potent political force in local races, and they have all sorts of resources. However, it is a project of NY PIRG, and that explains how they had the resources to get it off the ground (Plus as a former PIRG person myself, I'm not a big fan).

The real issue, as I've often said, is that most people don't have the self identity of a "muni rider" (or owner). The bike people don't just use a bike, they life a life that allows them to ride that thing up all those hills, and have a better sense of community. that's why the bike coalition gets everything it wants, to the detriment of transit sometimes. In the end, they see bikes as God's Solution to Everything, and don't mind it if we transit riders get thrown under the bus, so to speak.

It would be better if we as transit riders and they as bike people would realize we kinda need to help each other, and the pedestrian, and yes, the motorist (not everyone can use transit during the day) and see this doesn't have to be a zero sum game.

That would assume, of course, that San Franciscans can see beyond knee-jerkisms and so on and that's asking a lot.

so, i read a lot of bitching here, and it's great to expose what needs to be done.

but what can we do? as you said, bitching about it is only going to get you so far. how about some research on places that are doing it right, and how we can make SF a little more functional? maybe it's not your job, but it would be nice to see a little less whining and a little more constructive dialogue.

let's get to the bottom of the problem — what are the concrete things that make MUNI unreliable and such a fail? are there places that have solved these problems? from this, we can synthesize, design a solution that might actually work given the constraints here.

one thing i would look at is the relationship between cyclists and advocacy in places like copenhagen and amsterdam. like muni, they have no coalition, they're just normal everyday people riding bikes, like we ride muni.

i would also not alienate cyclists in SF — they are organized, and when you realize that transit and bikes go hand in hand for transit infrastructure (just look at how many places have combined bus/bike lanes, like london, paris, etc), you can use the combined power to fight the evil of the car — of course, don't forget some muni riders also drive. yes, we have some dysfunctionality in critical mass, etc, but there is a great opportunity to push with combined advocacy for bicycle / transit improvements.

i hope to see more constructive ideas here in the future —

"It boggles the mind that the bike people pretty much get whatever they want..."

You've stepped in it now Greg. No, we bike people don't get everything we want. If all our wishes were granted we'd have pothole-free streets, a bunch more bike lanes, access to the Metro (including the N), a path on the west span of the Bay Bridge, and full implementation of the Bike Plan. None of this injunction legal BS. Bikes and MUNI should go hand-in-hand in beating back our love affair for cars. Bike riders take transit too. See those racks on the front of the buses?

SFBC is doing the Winterfest fundraiser because we don't have everything we want yet.

Speaking of a rider's union, what about Rescue Muni?

One constructive thing I'd recommend is encouraging the good employees when you spot them. Thank them for a job well done, send in praise to Muni, and so on. I'm sure even the best employees get their share of complaints from irate passengers who are having a bad day, or are annoyed at things that they don't realize are beyond the employee's control. But I doubt the bad employees get any positive comments from riders, and doing this for the good ones will, in some small way, help separate them from the bad ones and increase the overall quality of Muni's employees. Plus, they're people too, and I'm sure they like getting praise as much as any of us. It's a pretty thankless job, especially with SF's culture of whining about Muni.

The injunction is a travesty, an abuse of the judicial system by an angry person who is lucky they get free legal counsel to pursue their irrational hatred of bikes.

However, I'd point out that Leah Shahum, of SFBC, was actually on the MTA board (before Newsom pulled the rug out from under her, which I felt was a mistake) and I thought that was a good thing. But why don't rider advocates also get a seat too?

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